What Is Floater Insurance?

Floater insurance is a type of insurance policy that covers property that is easily movable and provides additional coverage over what normal insurance policies do not. This can cover anything from jewelry to expensive stereo equipment.

  • Floater insurance is insurance beyond normal coverage that coverage easily movable property. 
  • Floater insurance generally covers only one individual item, such as fine art or silverware. 
  • Beyond using a floater insurance policy to boost coverage, insureds can raise their liability limits for policies. 

How Floater Insurance Works

Often, homeowners insurance will not fully cover some items. Adding a floater policy assures the homeowner that the full value will be replaced in the event of theft, loss or damage. These policies generally cover one individual item, so if you have several items for which you want full coverage, you will need to get a floater for each.

A standard homeowners insurance policy includes coverage for all perils included in your policy (such as fire, windstorm, theft, and vandalism), for jewelry and other precious items, such as watches and furs. However, there are limits to certain valuables. 

Jewelry and other small valuable items are easily stolen, so the risks of it actually being stolen are higher. To keep coverage affordable, standard homeowners policies generally only provide about $1,500 in coverage for such items, which means that the insurer won't pay more than that amount for any given piece of jewelry or other valuable items.

Here are the key items that float insurance covers:

  • Fine art: antiques, books, china, crystal, collectibles, fine arts, furniture, glass, lithographs, mirrors, rugs, tapestries, paintings, pictures, and sculptures.
  • Cameras: Cameras of any type, projectors and audio-visual equipment for personal use. Professionally used items are not eligible.
  • Sporting equipment: Golf, surfing, tennis or other types of equipment used for non-professional use.
  • Musical instruments: Pianos, guitars, electronics, and other types of music equipment used for personal use. Professionally used and touring instruments are not eligible.
  • Silverware: Silverware and related items.
  • Postage stamps: Postage stamps and related items.
  • Rare coins and collections: Collectible coins (including gold and silver), baseball cards, comics, LPs and other collections of collectibles.

Special Considerations

For those who own jewelry, furs, collectibles, or other costly or irreplaceable items, there are two ways you can increase insurance coverage to levels more in line with the value of those items. 

Floater Policy

This involves purchasing a floater policy and scheduling your individual valuables. This insurance option offers the broadest protection for valuables. Floaters cover losses of any type, including those your homeowners insurance policy will not cover, such as accidental losses—such as losing ring down a drain or leaving an expensive watch in a hotel room. Before you can purchase a floater, items intended for coverage must be appraised by a professional.

Raise Liability Limits

This is less expensive than purchasing a separate floater policy, but coverages are limited for both individual pieces and overall losses. For example, the coverage limits for an individual piece could be $2,000, with a total limit of $5,000

It's important to revisit floater policies every two or three years to make sure valuations are current. You also want to make sure you add new purchases, especially those you may get for birthday or holiday gifts.